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DuPont fire levy: A mess, but perhaps the cheaper route

Post by Kim Bradford on Oct. 9, 2008 at 10:21 am with No Comments »
October 9, 2008 10:21 am

We ran a correction for our editorial on the City of DuPont’s levy for fire services earlier this week that deserves a fuller discussion here.

In writing the editorial, I considerably understated the amount that Lakewood Fire District residents pay for that district’s general operating expenses. It isn’t 87 cents per $1,000 of assessed value next year (the amount of the district’s excess levy). You have to add that amount to the $1.50 regular rate to come up with the real cost to Lakewood Fire residents: $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed value.

That’s significant to the discussion about DuPont’s controversial request for a property tax levy lid lift since annexation to Lakewood is one of the long-term options.

DuPont city officials originally asked for $1.80 for fire expenses, and that’s what’s on the ballot. But the city council, having discovered a legal flaw with its plan to segregate fire costs in the budget, says that it would assess only $1 of the $1.80. It’s worth noting that either number is well below the rate paid by residents of Lakewood Fire (which is essentially acting as DuPont’s de facto fire department under a contract).

You can argue, as we did, the wisdom of waiting until the fire department’s drain on the budget reached crisis levels and then trying to pass what amounts to a 100 to 180 percent tax increase. But the possibility remains that for DuPont residents, the levy lid lift might be the cheaper option.

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